Friday, February 11, 2011
Thriller Thursday - The Tragic Story of Grace Emert
Upon reading the opening information, I discovered that she was only 34 at the time of her death. Surprised by that fact, my eyes quickly moved over to the column containing the cause of death and I was stunned by what I read. "Compound skull fracture" came first. My thoughts were that maybe it was some kind of accident until I read the next line. "Severed jugular vein and carotid artery" was written next. I think I had to read it several times before it sunk in. I may have actually actually said "What?" out loud. Farther down on the certificate, next to the question "Accident, suicide, or homicide?" was written, "Homicide 1/6/1936".
The document then listed that she was killed in her home.
The information only got worse as the final shock came on one of the last lines of the column where is stated she was "beat and cut by her brother." Her brother? How could that happen and who was her brother?
At that time, I didn't have any of the names of her family members other than those of her parents. I went back to my original search of certificates to locate any other "Emerts" who may have had Edward Emert and Charlotte Myers listed as parents. It didn't take very long to find "Raymond ". Although there was no death certificate available to view, there was information about his date of death, which was 6 January, 1936, the same day as his murdered sister. That was too much of a coincidence not to have been a piece of this tragic puzzle. Could it have been a murder/suicide and what could inspire that kind of rage? I had to find more information.
I started with a quick email to the librarian here at the Dayton Montgomery Public Library. I requested any information she might be able to find in the Dayton Daily News on 7 January, 1936 regarding the crime. Since I am impatient and I haven't received any response from her yet, I decided to head back to Ancestry.com for a short term membership again so I could access newspaper records from other cities in and around Ohio. Within 5 minutes of searching, I had my answers and they were not only shocking, but very sad.
The first article I found appeared in the Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal on 7 January, 1936. The headline read "Woman Found Dead on Farm"; "Throat Slashed, Head Battered, Brother's Body Sought". The short story went on to describe how Grace's battered body had been found in the living room of her own home. The neighbors had been attracted to the farm when they saw the barn in flames. The article went on to say that Grace had lived in the home with her brother, Raymond, who was 29 years old. The sheriff stated that the ashes of the barn would be "sifted". After reading this article, it seemed as though I was on the right track regarding the murder/suicide, but it still didn't explain why her own brother would kill her.